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ON THE ROAD AGAIN

With Ghost Town USA

 

A Tour Guide to the Ghost Towns Along

U.S. HIGHWAY 6

From Bishop, California to Price, Utah

 

 

 

PART 2

CA/NV State line to Tonopah, NV

 

 

 

CONTINUED from PART 1

 

Crossing the California/Nevada state line, US 6 arrows straight to the northeast, following the upper reaches of the valley.  It takes aim at 7132’ high Montgomery Pass, eight miles in the distance.  Along this portion of the road, just 2.5 miles east of the state line, the small ghost town of…

 

QUEEN

QUEEN sits about a half mile to the north of the highway along the old Carson & Colorado Railroad (C&CRR) railroad line.  This former C&CRR station was established in 1882 or 1883.  It is not listed in the online station listing for the railroad, but is mentioned in the Nevada Place Names book.  It is said to have been named after the Indian Queen Mine, which was located at the north end of the White Mountains, about five miles east of the station.  A post office operated here from October 26, 1912 to January 15, 1914.  It probably died when the Tonopah Junction to BENTON section of the rail line was closed and removed in 1938.  Aerial photos do not show any buildings, but there appear to be foundation outlines or other soil disturbances.  The site is readily accessible via a dirt road, which I did not take.  An unpaved, half-mile long landing strip paralleling US 6, sits west of the access road and just north of some sort of dying agricultural business on the northwestern side of the junction. The highway continues its uphill run, up and over…

 

Montgomery Pass

…the highest pass on the entire portion of the route through western Nevada. No other passes are higher until we reach Connors Pass on the far side of the state east of Ely.  Just north of the summit and beyond a shallow curve where the road swings to the north, is a small, abandoned community sprawling across both sides of the highway. 

 

MT. MONTGOMERY

Also known as BUENA VISTA, SUMMIT and SUNLAND, this community was totally abandoned at the time I visited on July 5, 2008.  Left to attract this old camera-totin’ ghost towner, were a couple of motels across the highway from each other, a casino, a combination gas station/repair garage, and a cluster of tourist cabins.  This little roadside community looks like something out of the Twilight Zone TV series.  I don’t know much about its history other than it was the site of a C&CRR station and a post office once operated here.  The post office was called BUENA VISTA, and was active from December 14, 1905 through April 24, 1911, at which time the name was changed to SUNLAND. It remained as Sunland until it was discontinued a little over a year later on July 31, 1912.  The post office was re-established as MT MONTGOMERY on September 22, 1916, operating uninterrupted until September 30, 1945. 

 

Remains include: the sprawling, single-story, brick red Montgomery Pass Casino with the twisted remains of its roof-top sign, and the adjacent Montgomery Pass Motel, a two-story grey motel; the tall, two-legged canopy of the gas station, the gaping open doors of the repair garage, and the crooked, gap-toothed line of boarded-up tourist cabins/bungalows.  Across the highway to the west are the Boundary Peak Lodge and the adjacent dark brown, brick wainscoted restaurant, both facing out onto the former grade of the C&CRR.  Several modular/mobile homes that probably housed employees round out the picture, all bringing back memories of the glory days of roadtrippin’ when cars couldn’t go so far between fill-ups, and Nevada-bound tourists tried to beat the odds in off-the-wall casinos in little, podunk, mapdot towns. 

 

On the southeast side of the town site, behind the two-story motel were a number of occupied structures, so please respect the rights of those property owners.  ALSO, please note that some of the structures are posted “KEEP OUT”.  Abide by that request.  

 

I received the following E-mail from Daniel D. on July 18, 2010.  Someone burned the old casino down a few months ago.  It is a total ruin with just a few walls left.  …The restaurant you mention was in fact the first casino with some food available.” 

 

This is one of the reasons I try to photograph every building in each of the towns I visit.  You never know when a change will occur.  This is a sad situation, that unfortunately will continue as long as there are people out there that have no respect for other folk’s property.  There are enough accidental and natural “eliminations” without help from humans.  Please be careful when you visit these fragile relics of Americana, and treat them with respect.  Thanks for the update Dan.

 

BASALT

About three miles northeast of MT MONTGOMERY is the junction of US 6/SH 360 and the barren site of BASALT.  BASALT was a C&CRR station and prospector’s supply center. A post office operated here for a short time - from March 20, through August 9, 1906.  The on-line GNIS aerial photos show a barren site with numerous graded Aroads@ around the site, south of the junction.  It also shows what appears to be - or have been - a landing strip.  Nothing is visible from the highway, and I saw nothing to indicate a town ever existed here. 

 

Continuing east on US 6, we cross the ESMERALDA COUNTY LINE 6.2 miles east of BASALT.  18.5 miles later we reach COALDALE JUNCTION – where US 95 rolls in from the north.  The two highways then run co-joined for the next 40+ miles until they split at the east end of TONOPAH.

 

COALDALE

At Coaldale Junction, detour to the north on US 95 for about three-quarters of a mile.  This is the original, hard to locate site of COALDALE.  The now barren site is marked only by a concrete well casing, minor debris, shards of broken purple glass and scattered cans that have escaped the grinding blade of a bulldozer trying to erase or hide the memories of OLD COALDALE. 

 

The original town of COALDALE was established in the 1880s by William Grötzinger, who discovered coal in the southeastern end of the Silver Peak Range, about 2½ miles south-southeast of the site. A stage station also operated out of the little coal camp.  Not much transpired until 1901, when TONOPAH boomed.  A forty-acre town site was platted and the Tonopah & Goldfield Railroad (T&GRR) established a station here.  A post office opened October 6, 1904, and remained open until July 28, 1908.  The coal mines shut down around 1916.  Around 1939 or 1940, US 95 replaced State Highway (SH) 3, and a service station operated here until 1959. COALDALE never amounted to much, and little remains to show it ever existed.  Across the highway, a small “V” shaped landing field once existed, its site visible on the GNIS topographic map.  One of the runways was 2900’ long and the other about 2300’.

 

Sometime before or after COALDALE died, the town relocated 1.2 miles to the south, to a spot about a quarter mile south of Coaldale Junction.  Along the south side of the highway, a handful of pale white, empty mid 20th Century buildings that mark “NEW” COALDALE. These buildings have been heavily vandalized and graffitied, and include a motel, garage, gas station, and several unidentified buildings, one of which looks like it may have been a school. There are also several small houses and cabins that may have been housing for employees of the community.  Between the former motel and gas station, the burnt rubble of a restaurant/casino has fallen into the basement. It was a white, single-story, gable-roofed building that burned sometime between April 2002 and July 2006.   A landing strip is also located here, and shown on the GNIS map.  It had a 3200’ dirt runway.  The town faded and died probably in the 1990s.

 

BLAIR JUNCTION

Continuing south from COALDALE JUNCTION, US 6 reaches the barren site of BLAIR JUNCTION at mile 5.9.  This road junction is where SH 265 rolls up from the south. Eighteen miles to the south is the turn-off for the ghost town of BLAIR, while three miles beyond is the semi-ghost of SILVER PEAK.  They were not on the agenda for this trip, so I didn’t visit either of them.  A little over a half mile south of the junction and past a cell tower is the now barren site of the T&GRR/ Silver Peak Railroad junction. The rail junction of BLAIR JUNCTION boomed during the 1907 era.  An aerial photo shows dirt roads (including the old railroad grade), but no buildings or foundations.  The topo map shows a dry well and dirt roads. A post office operated here November 18, 1920 – September 29, 1923.  Nothing was visible from either highway.

 

McLEANS

Continuing east towards Tonopah on US 6, the next site of interest is McLEANS. This T&GRR  station was located 0.4 miles south of US 6-95 about a mile north of the big bend in the highway. Its name was changed in 1925 to GILBERT JUNCTION.  A post office operated at the station April 9, 1925 - November 14, 1942. Nothing remains here, or at …

 

BLACK ROCK

which is next in line.  Black Rock is listed as a Apillar@ in the online GNIS database, but the DeLorme Nevada Atlas & Gazetteer shows it as a place name and an online topographic map shows it as Black Rock/McLeans.  Whether that was the rock, which is highly visible alongside the highway, or an actual “road town” I don’t know, but I suspect it was nothing more than the “pillar” as this small outcropping is visible for miles and probably served as a travel marker.  No remains of any town were visible, so this place will remain a mystery unless one of you knows something about it. 

 

MILLERS

East of BLACK ROCK, US 6-95 makes a bend towards the east, then southeast, taking aim on TONOPAH, visible in the saddle between the hills 15 miles in the distance.  Just as the road rolls towards the southeast, a rest stop springs up like an oasis in the bleak, flat desert, 20.3 miles east of BLACK ROCK.  Across the street, opposite the west end of the rest stop, a graded dirt road runs off to the south past a power substation.  About 1.5 miles south of the highway is MILLERS, truly a stealth ghost town that isn’t prominently featured in ghost town literature.  It’s also not highly visible from the highway, but is definitely worth a stop. 

 

The sprawling remains of this wonderful old ghost remain hidden to the vast majority of casual ghost town chasers who run through life with no curiosity or a desire research out the stories and locations of these forgotten places.  The story of MILLERS begins in 1865 when Desert Wells STAGE Station was established on the Silver Peak stage route to take advantage of a desert watering hole. Then in 1901, and the boom at TONOPAH, it became an important water stop on the Tonopah route.  The T&GRR ran tracks past the old stage station in 1904, establishing a railroad depot and repair facilities here to take advantage of the water and nearness to the TONOPAH silver boom. Because of the abundant water and the railroad facilities, several ore mills were built in 1906, and a year later the milling boom was at its peak. In 1910, the census counted 274 people here along with a full compliment of businesses.  MILLERS began to fade in 1911 when the railroad moved its repair facilities elsewhere and some of the TONOPAH mines established milling facilities at or near the mines. In 1947 the railroad shut down and MILLERS closed up.  A post office was in operation January 17, 1906 - September 12, 1919, and again February 16, 1921 – December 31, 1931. 

 

The site is spread out over some pretty extensive acreage, and is filled with rubble, ruins and the massive concrete foundations of the huge stamp mills.  The railroad grade is still visible, railroad ties still in place.  A dugout, a concrete explosives bunker and an old metal building remain, along with foundations, walls and other unidentifiable ruins.  Broken glass, rusted cans, coiled hoses, rotten barrels, wooden pipes, twisted and broken power poles, warped & sand-blasted wood, relics and other detritus lie scattered in the blow-sand all around the site.

 

Returning to the highway, we continue east, heading towards TONOPAH.  At the western outskirts of TONOPAH, the highway crosses the NYE COUNTY LINE, passes the cemetery on the southeast and enters this fabulous old silver mining town that changed the face of Southern Nevada at the dawn of the 20th Century.

 

CONTINUED in PART 3

 

 

 

PREVIOUS – Part 2 - NEXT

 

PART 1: Bishop, CA to CA/NV State Line

PART 2: CA/NV State line to Tonopah, NV

PART 3: Tonopah to Warm Springs, NV

PART 4: Warm Springs, NV to NV/UT State Line

PART 5: NV/UT State Line to the Tintic Mining District, UT

PART 6: The Tintic Mining District to Price, UT

PART 7: Coal Mining Camps west of Price, UT

 

 

GPS and Standard Township/Range locations for the sites featured above

 

SITE NAME

ELEV.

LATITUDE

LONGITUDE

TOWNSHIP/RANGE

Basalt (Mineral Co.)

6339’

38.0074300 / 38° 00’ 27” N

-118.2731740 / 118° 16’ 23” W

Sec 23, T2N, R33E, MDM* (* Mount Diablo Base Line & Meridian)

Black Rock (Esmeralda Co.)

4787’

38.0749305 / 38° 04’ 30” N

-117.6337080 / 117° 38’ 01” W

NE3 Sec 31, T3N, R39E, MDM

Blair (Esmeralda Co.)

4616’

37.7929865 / 37° 47’ 35” N

-117.6492601 / 117° 38’ 57” W

SW3 Sec 3, SE3 Sec 4, T2S, R39E, MDM

Blair Junction (Road Jct US 6-95/SH 265) (Esmeralda Co.)

4895’

38.0185419 / 38° 01’ 07” N

-117.777045 / 117° 46’ 37” W

NW3 Sec 20, T2N, R38E, MDM

Blair Junction (RR Jct) (Esmeralda Co.)

4819’

38.0082642 / 38° 00’ 30” N

-117.7737110 / 117° 46’ 25” W

SE3 Sec 20, T2N, R38E, MDM

Coaldale Junction (Esmeralda Co.)

4629’

38.0315972 / 38° 01’ 54” N

-117.8870483 / 117° 53’ 13” W

SW3 Sec 17, T2N, R37E, MDM

(NEW) Coaldale (Esmeralda Co.)

4662’

38.0274306 / 38° 01’ 39” N

-117.8831592 / 117° 52’ 59” W

SE3 Sec 17, T2N, R37E, MDM

(OLD) Coaldale (Esmeralda Co.)

4583’

38.042430 / 38° 02’ 33” N

-117.8934376 / 117° 53’ 36” W

SE3 Sec 8, T2N, R37E, MDM

Esmeralda/Mineral County Line

 

38.008844

-118.222084

 

Esmeralda/Nye County Line

 

38.077622

-117.249613

 

McLeans (Esmeralda Co.)

4782’

38.0477086 /38° 02’ 52” N

-117.6520413 / 117° 39’ 07” W

N½ Sec 9, T2N, R38½E, MDM

Millers (Esmeralda Co.)

4823’

38.1365977 / 38° 08’ 12” N

-117.4575928 / 117° 27’ 27” W

NW3 Sec 11, T3N, R40E, MDM

Millers Rest Stop (Esmeralda Co.)

4823’

38.1404866 / 38° 08’ 26” N

-117.4537038 / 117° 27’ 13” W

SW3 Sec 2, T3N, R40E, MDM

Montgomery Pass (Mineral Co.)

6450’

37.8285428 / 37° 49' 43" N

-118.4309530 / 118° 25' 51" W

SE3 Sec 27, T1S, R32E, MDM

Mt. Montgomery (Mineral Co.)

6201’

37.7638206 / 37° 45' 50" N

-118.4009508 / 118° 24' 03" W

NW3 Sec 24, T2S, R32E, MDM

Queen (Mineral Co.)

7149’

37.9735415 / 37° 58’ 25” N

-118.3267863 / 118° 19’ 36” W

N2 Sec 5, T1N, R33E, MDM

Silver Peak (Esmeralda Co.)

7129’

37.9796525 / 37° 58’ 47” N

-118.3215086 / 118° 19’ 17” W

SE3 Sec 32, T2N, R33E, MDM

State Line (CA/NV)

6174’

37.9315979 / 37° 55’ 54” N

-118.4429002 / 118° 24’ 34” W

E2 Sec 21, T1N, R32E, MDM

Tonopah (Nye Co.)

4823’

38.0671553 / 38° 04’ 02” N

-117.2300825 / 117° 13’ 48” W

S½ Sec 35, T3N, R42E, MDM,  N½ Sec 2, T2N, R42E, MDM

 

 

Historians estimate that there may be as many as 50,000 ghost towns scattered across the United States of America. Gary B. Speck Publications is in process of publishing unique state, regional, and county guides called:

The Ghost Town Guru's Guide to the Ghost Towns of “STATE”

These original guides are designed for anybody interested in ghost towns. Whether you are a casual tourist looking for a new and different place to visit, or a hard-core ghost town researcher, these guides will be just right for you. With over 30 years of research behind them, they will be a welcome addition to any ghost towner's library.  Thank you, and we'll see you out on the Ghost Town Trail!

 

For more information on the ghost towns along this portion of US HIGHWAY 6, contact us at Ghost Town USA.

 

E-mailers, PLEASE NOTE: Due to the tremendous amount of viruses, worms and “spam,” out there, I no longer open or respond to e-mails with unsolicited attachments, OR messages on the subject lines with “Hey”, “Hi”, “Need help”, “Help Please”, “???”, or blank subject lines, etc.  If you do send E-mail asking for information, or sharing information, PLEASE indicate the appropriate location AND state name, or other topic on the “subject” line.  THANK YOU!  :o)

IMPORTANT

 

These listings and historical vignettes of ghost towns, near-ghost towns and other historical sites along this portion of US HIGHWAY 6 above are for informational purposes only, and should NOT be construed to grant permission to trespass, metal detect, relic or treasure hunt at any of the listed sites.

 

If the reader of this guide is a metal detector user and plans to use this guide to locate sites for metal detecting or relic hunting, it is the READER'S responsibility to obtain written permission from the legal property owners. Please be advised, that any state or nationally owned sites will probably be off-limits to metal detector use. Also be aware of any federal, state or local laws restricting the same. 

When you are exploring the ghost towns along US HIGHWAY 6, please abide by the

Ghost Towner's Code of Ethics.

 

 

 

 

Also visit: Ghost Town USA’s

 

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CURRENT Ghost Town of the Month | PAST Ghost Towns of the Month

Ghost Towner's Code of Ethics | Publications | Genealogy | License Plate Collecting

 

A few LINKS to outside webpages:

Ghost Towns | Treasure Hunting | License Plate Collecting | Genealogy

 

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FIRST POSTED:  February 6, 2010

LAST UPDATED: June 15, 2014

 

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